• How to Prepare for Your Tooth Extraction

    After doing all he or she can to save your broken or severely decayed tooth, your dentist has decided that it has to come out. A tooth extraction may be your best option, but it still is a bit nerve-wracking to think about, so here are several things you can do to prepare for your upcoming procedure.

    Find out everything you need to know ahead of time

    Asking questions right before the dentist or oral surgeon extracts your tooth is probably not a good time, so make sure you have all of the information you need prior to the appointment. Questions you should ask may include

    •Why does your tooth need to be extracted?

    •What types of anesthesia are available?

    •How long should the procedure take?

    •Is the procedure complicated?

    •Will other dental procedures be necessary at a later date?

    •What are the potential risks?

    •How long is the recovery process?

    Preparing for the procedure

    Before the tooth extraction can be done, your oral surgeon will need a complete medical history, including any medications you are taking or if you have allergies or other health issues. You may be prescribed antibiotics to prevent infection, and you may want to make arrangements for someone to drive you to and from the appointment.

    During the procedure

    When you arrive for the procedure, the dental team will help you get comfortable and answer any lingering questions. Before pulling your tooth, your dentist or oral surgeon will give you an injection of a local anesthetic or a general anesthetic to put you to sleep, depending on your preferences and the extent of the procedure.

    If your procedure is a simple extraction, then the dentist will loosen your tooth with a tool called an elevator and remove it with forceps.

    If the tooth is impacted (below the gum line), the oral surgeon will cut away the gum and bone tissue covering the tooth, grasp the tooth with forceps, and loosen it from the jaw bone. Sometimes, a tooth must be removed in pieces.

    Once the tooth has been pulled, a blood clot usually forms in the socket and the surgeon will pack gauze into the wound and have you bite down to slow the bleeding. The surgeon may also stitch up the wound, if necessary.

    Recovery

    After your procedure, you will definitely need to take it easy and get plenty of rest. Recovery usually takes a couple of days. Follow these tips to help speed up the recovery process and minimize your discomfort:

    •Take painkillers as prescribed.

    •Change your gauze pads before they become blood soaked.

    •Apply an ice bag to the affected area for 10 minutes immediately following the procedure.

    •Relax for at least 24 hours and limit activities for a day or two.

    •Avoid rinsing or spitting for 24 hours to prevent the clot in the socket from dislodging.

    •After 24 hours, rinse your mouth with a solution made of ½ teaspoon salt and 8 ounces of warm water.

    •Eat soft foods a first, and then gradually add solid foods back to your diet as the wound heals.

    •Brush and floss regularly, avoiding the wound area to help prevent infection.

    If you have questions or concerns about your upcoming tooth extraction, contact the friendly and knowledgeable team at Zen Dental . We utilize the latest tools and techniques to ensure a smooth and effective tooth extraction, so give us a call today!

    Call (206) 324-1100 for more helpful tips for preparing for your tooth extraction!

  • What You Didn’t Know About Your Dental Cleanings

    After going to the dentist twice a year for as long as you can remember, you have the routine down by now. Cleaning, scraping, rinsing, spitting… see you in 6 months!

    But here are a few things about your dental checkup that you may not have known.

    The numbers in a pocket reading actually mean something

    If you recently had a routine dental checkup, then you may have noticed the dentist (or periodontist) sticking a small probe with ruler lines between your teeth and gums and calling out seemingly random numbers. Well, these numbers actually are very important indicators of your overall oral health.

    Where the gum and the tooth meet is not where they are actually attached – that is much further down. The space in between creates a small pocket, almost like a moat, that encircles the tooth. The pocket can grow in depth if the gum is inflamed or if the ligaments that hold the tooth and gum together are damaged. Neither situation is good for your health. A pocket reading measures the size of your pocket, usually on a scale of 1-4. Deeper pockets are indicators of disease.

    Keeping gingivitis at bay is good for your heart

    Numerous studies have shown a correlation between your oral hygiene and your overall health, especially when it comes to your heart.

    Your gums are full of blood vessels and your mouth is full of bacteria. The first stage of gum disease, gingivitis, causes red, painful, and tender gums, but proper brushing and flossing can reverse these symptoms. If gingivitis develops into periodontitis, though, your heart may be at risk.

    Periodontitis leads to infected pockets of germy pus that spreads bacteria and other toxins below the gum line and into the bloodstream. Studies have shown that the bacteria found in periodontal disease may play a role in strokes or increase the thickness of your carotid arteries, which can affect blood flow to your brain.

    The dentist is not just being nice by giving you a new toothbrush

    Ever wondered why your dentist gives you a brand-new toothbrush every time you go in for a dental cleaning? Dentists recommend that you change your toothbrush out every three months, so you should actually go through at least two toothbrushes before your next dental visit. Your dentist is giving you a new toothbrush because you actually need it.

    Checking for oral cancer is part of the routine

    When your dentist examines your teeth and gums as part of a routine dental cleaning, some of the things they look for are potential signs of oral cancer. If caught early, the chances of surviving oral cancer are good, but they rapidly decrease as time goes by. Early signs of oral cancer may include ulcers that don’t heal after 14 days, unexplained bleeding, and lumps or rough spots inside the mouth. Your dentist will be able to recognize the signs and get you started on a treatment plan as soon as possible.

    Even though going in for a routine dental cleaning may not be your idea of a good time, it is a vital component to lifelong oral health. To find out more information on the thorough and professional dental cleanings from our expert dental team. Call Zen Dental in Seattle today!

    Schedule your next dental cleaning by calling (206) 324-1100!